Where To Stay in Chicago [Best Places to Stay for 2024]

As a Chicagoan, one of my favorite sights is our magnificent skyline. While there is much to be said for the Windy City’s downtown prestige, the city is more than just the bustling Loop neighborhood. In fact, some of the best areas to stay in Chicago aren’t even in the downtown area. Our city hosts 77 distinct community areas, so The Loop is just one of many. 

When visiting Chicago for the first time, I recommend staying downtown for easy access to the city’s biggest attractions easily. So don’t worry—we’ll cover downtown right away in this guide. But I also want to introduce you to a few other neighborhoods that, as a Chicagoan, I love to show my out-of-town guests. 

Chicago Board of Trade Building along La Salle street in Chicago Illinois. The art deco building was built in 1930 and first designated a Chicago Landmark on May 4 1977.

I’ll also tell you about all of my favorite Chicago food spots in these neighborhoods. And don’t let anyone tell you not to try Chicago at least deep dish pizza. Folks around here either love it or hate it, but I am in the love-it camp. I think it is a deep enough piece of Chicago lore that you should at least give it a try once. 

So please, enjoy Chicago on a deeper level and really get to know us! I promise we aren’t scary. 

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Making last-minute plans for your Chicago itinerary. We’ve got you covered. Our recommended hotels for a getaway are listed below.

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Downtown / The Loop – Ideal for First Timer Visitors

As I mentioned, Chicago’s lauded Downtown makes sense for a first-timer’s home base. Not only is this where a vast majority of the hotels are located, but you’ll also be near some of the city’s biggest draws, like the Art Institute of Chicago and Cloudgate (AKA The Bean), located in Millennium Park. The Loop is also where you’ll find some of the big performing arts spaces like the Chicago Theatre and the James M. Nederlander Theatre, too. 

To taste Chicago’s Germanic history, visit the historic Berghoff Restaurant. For lunch, you can cozy up with some schnitzel in a homey eatery before continuing on your adventures through the city. For dinner you can enjoy some elevated American fare in the modern-style ambiance of The Dearborn – perfect for a pre-show dinner before hopping across the street to The Goodman Theatre or the Nederlander mentioned above. 

While you are Downtown, I highly recommend taking an architecture boat cruise along the Chicago River. Several tours are offered up and down our river, but the best one, in my experience, is the one offered by the Chicago Architecture Center. 

My Top Pick for Downtown!
Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago, an IHG Hotel

Kimpton Gray Hotel

  • Free bike hire & tea and coffee station
  • Attention to detail is amazing

Below are some hotels Downtown Chicago to consider:

Chicago Bean

Lincoln Park – Ideal for Families 

Lincoln Park is one of the best areas for families visiting Chicago. It’s charming, highly walkable, and rich with family-friendly activities. The Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Oz Park, and the Chicago History Museum are all free. This neighborhood has a wealth of outdoor adventures, making it a nature-filled wonderland. If you visit in the wintertime, you can even experience the ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, which is one of my favorite holiday traditions in the city. 

If you need some sassy food fun, visit The Wiener’s Circle. While you’re there, you can grab a Chicago Dog (we don’t serve these with ketchup, FYI) and enjoy an absolute city staple. For more chill vibes, you can visit the Bourgeois Pig Cafe, which is a former house turned adorable cafe. I spent a lot of time here in grad school. 

Should you want a more grown-up evening, Lincoln Park is home to some of the city’s best restaurants. You’ll find our Michelin 3-Star Alinea and the Michelin-starred Boka here. There are only thirteen three-Michelin Star restaurants in the United States, making Alinea a particularly special spot. These are two of the city’s most exclusive restaurants, surrounded by Lincoln Park’s undeniable charm.

My Top Pick for Lincoln Park!
Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham Chicago

Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham Chicago

  • My affordable home away from home
  • Super comfy bed
  • Unique decor

Below are some hotels in Lincoln Park to consider:

Chicago skyline aerial drone view from above, lake Michigan and city of Chicago downtown skyscrapers cityscape from Lincoln park, Illinois, USA

Hyde Park – Ideal for Museum Types

Although it has been getting more tourist attention recently, Hyde Park is still an often overlooked area of Chicago. Known as the former home to President Barack Obama and the University of Chicago, Hyde Park is also a beacon for museum dwellers. I am one such museum dweller. Although the Museum Campus area where Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum are, isn’t in Hyde Park, it’s nearby and I highly recommend checking these out too.

Chicago has some of the best museums in the world, including the massive Museum of Science and Industry. Ours is found inside the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition. Hyde Park is also where you’ll find the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Frederick C. Robie House and the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. There are also two impressive museums located on the UIC campus: the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures Museum and the Smart Museum of Art. 

Over in Burnham Park, Promontory Point has one of the best skyline views in the city. It is a perfect place for a picnic, snuggled up beside Lake Michigan. Since it was constructed in the 1930s, it has been a little city hideaway. 

My Top Pick for Hyde Park!
Sophy Hyde Park

The Sophy

  • Cool art everywhere!
  • Very spacious rooms
  • Try brunch Mesler restaurant

Below are some hotels in Hyde Park to consider:

chicago  - Hyde park

Rogers Park – Ideal for Artsy Types

Most lists of the best areas to stay in Chicago don’t include Rogers Park. I often do for a simple reason – it’s my neighborhood. Rogers Park is where many performing artists live in the city, so it is full of exciting things to do. You can take in a show at the fabulous Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre (which is technically in Evanston), hang out for some literary-inspired work at Lifeline Theatre, or just meander the Glenwood Sunday Market for tasty finds. 

Another must-do for artsy folks in Rogers Park is visiting Armadillo’s Pillow, my favorite used bookstore. Afterwards, you can pop across the street to Rice Thai Cafe for some incredible dishes. My personal favorite will always be the chicken satay with a side of crab rangoons. Rice Thai makes the best rangoons I’ve had outside of mainland China. 

Rogers Park is also home to a community arts project called The Mile of Murals. Walking around the neighborhood, you’ll spot tons of public art, including these murals along Glenwood Avenue. You can even spot public art at Loyola Beach, where 160 murals are repainted every year by members of the community. 

My Top Pick for Rogers Park!
Hampton Inn Chicago North-Loyola Station, Il

Hampton Inn Chicago North-Loyola Station

  • Close to the trains
  • Decent sized bed
  • In hotel market.

Below are some hotels in Rogers Park to consider:

Sunset Aerial view of Chicago Skylines building at Chicago downtown in Chicago City Illinois USA. Looking to the south of Chicago.

River North – Ideal for Singles

Just north of the Chicago River (hence the name), River North is a vibe. Packed with trendy bars, eateries, and clubs, there is always something going on in the neighborhood. Plus, with the shopping haven that is the Magnificent Mile, you don’t have to worry about being bored. Instead you have to worry about fitting everything in. 

A few of the favorite bars in the neighborhood include the posh Three Dots and a Dash and the oldest bar in the city Green Door Tavern. You can also dance the night away in Bodega Nightclub or Tunnel. For folks looking for a different kind of scene, Headquarters Beercade is also in River North. Headquarters is a pretty chill and fun arcade bar.

On a completely different note, River North is also home to the Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Richard H. Driehaus Museum. These two museums on top of the historic Merchandise Mart make for an interesting day into night exploring River North. 

My Top Pick for River North!
The Peninsula Chicago

The Peninsula Chicago

  • Rooms are “smart-rooms”
  • Service is always exceptional
  • Rooms are spacious

Below are some hotels in River North to consider:

Magnificent view down the Chicago River which is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 miles that flows through Chicago including the famous Chicago Loop.

Gold Coast – Ideal for Couples

In his life, John Jacob Astor IV was one of the wealthiest men in the country, and he originated the name the Gold Coast for a neighborhood in Chicago. Astor and his wife never lived in the city, though his name for the area was fitting as it became a place for some of the richest people in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. There is even a street in the Gold Coast named for Astor. 

Because so many wealthy Chicagoans lived here, the neighborhood is still full of gorgeous manors and opulent houses. It is one of my favorite places to just walk around, admiring the architecture. If you’re a fan of incredible homes, be sure to visit the Charnley-Persky House, designed by Louis Sullivan and a young Frank Lloyd Wright. 

When you’re ready to unwind from the day, grab a drink and some dinner at The Ambassador Room. This supper club-esque restaurant is the perfect, casual, romantic spot for an evening out. Or you can enjoy cocktails at Sparrow which encapsulates the area’s vintage aesthetic since it is housed inside an Art Deco era building. 

My Top Pick for Gold Coast!
Viceroy Chicago

Viceroy Chicago

  • Unique decor, but still modern
  • Yummy candy station
  • Super soft sheets

Below are some hotels in the Gold Coast to consider:

Looking down Navy Pier on a sunny day in Chicago

Wicker Park – Ideal for Culture Vultures

It is hard to summarize Wicker Park into one identity. That’s part of its charm. A lot of the neighborhood is even preserved as a Chicago Landmark District, so its past is just as present as, well, the present. Wicker Park is artsy, foodie, and musical, without being ostentatious or fake. Some consider it a hipster haven, though mostly it’s just a collage of all of those things put together. 

One of my favorite places in the city to see theater is The Den Theatre, which also makes delicious cocktails. This venue has several theaters, giving ample space to all kinds of performances, from local storefront companies to touring comedians. When you need to grab some comfort food, you can nosh on some of the best burgers around at Small Cheval or go simple with grilled cheese at Cheesie’s Pub and Grub.

If you aren’t ready to call it a night, Wicker Park still has several live music venues to enjoy. On top of the cool bars like The Revel Room or Dorian’s, there are several music spots in a row, too. Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret is just a skip away from The Point and Subterranean. 

My Top Pick for Patong!
The Robey, Chicago, a Member of Design Hotels

The Robey

  • Very cool room layout
  • Rooftop bar (with a view)
  • Great for families

Below are some hotels in Wicker Park to consider:

Chicago, Illinois, USA aerial downtown skyline at dusk towards Lake Michigan.

Areas to Avoid in Chicago

Here’s the thing about Chicago: it has a bad reputation for violence and crime. It isn’t the most dangerous city in the country or the most crime-ridden. In recent years, it hasn’t even cracked the country’s top 25 most dangerous cities – despite being the third largest. 

There are neighborhoods like Austin or Englewood that have more statistical crime, but that doesn’t make them inherently bad, either. As someone with a Master’s degree in rhetoric and discourse, I could do entire seminars on how problematic and inaccurate crime data often is – but I want to give you the best information I can. 

With that in mind, the following neighborhoods are currently reported to be the most dangerous in the city:

  •  Washington Park
  • Englewood
  • North Lawndale
  • West Garfield Park
  • East Garfield Park
  • West Englewood
  • Riverdale 
  • Grand Crossing
  • Austin

Chicago is just like any other major city – it has crime. Even so, you can easily visit and keep yourself safe using common sense. As you would anywhere else, always be aware of your surroundings, keep your personal belongings close to you, and never ride on an empty train car if you can avoid it, especially at night.

Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean is one of the parks major attractions from 6am - 11pm daily.


As you explore each of the areas of Chicago in this adventure or the next, you’ll start to see the city in full technicolor. Each neighborhood adds its own flavor to the palette of Chicago, almost like the mountain of toppings on a Chicago Dog. Whether it is your first or fifteen time visiting our fair Windy City, welcome. We’re so glad you’re here! 

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  • Amanda Finn

    Amanda, a Chicago-based travel journalist, has explored 20 countries and 27 states since childhood. Featured in publications like Huffington Post and Ms. Magazine, they specialize in LGBTQIA+ travel, theme parks, itineraries, traveling with pets, and purposeful travel.

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